Friday, June 7 2013, 06:35 PM MDT
Movie Review: Oblivion
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director • Joseph Kosinski
Starring • Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko
Rated • PG-13
Recommended to • Those looking for a visually stunning sci-fi experience that barely makes it through its minefield of plot holes and similarities to superior films.
Synopsis • A war with an alien race known as the Scavs has left Earth uninhabitable. Jack (Tom Cruise) and his wife Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) have been left behind to monitor and repair the various drone that now scout the wastelands of Earth and protect the giant machinery that provides power for the surviving human race who have fled to Saturn’s moon Titian. With their tour of duty nearly complete Victoria looks forward to returning to society. Jack, who feels emotionally connected with Earth, begins to question everything he knows about his mission and the future of mankind.
Review • I love sci-fi films and as a result I’ve seen more than my share of them. My overall impression of “Oblivion” is that it relies heavily on the visual style and many of the traditional narrative tropes of the genre. There’s nothing in this film that I haven’t seen before. That doesn’t make “Oblivion” a bad film; it just lacks a real sense of originality. I suspect that those that love science fiction will find much to like in the film, particularly if they aren’t bothered by all the visual and thematic nods to other movies. I, however, felt that the story wasn’t quite strong enough to overcome its familiarity. Director Joseph Kosinski (“Tron Legacy”) is extremely talented when it comes to giving his films a wonderful visual aesthetic. He does seem to have a hard time bringing out the warmth of humanity from his actors. The sterile coldness works for some characters, but undermines others.
“Oblivion” is a respectable film that leaves me wondering if science fiction needs to find a way to completely reinvent itself. I don’t want to believe that there isn’t any new themes, both visual and narrative, left to be discovered.
-Ryan Michael Painter